Letter from Harris, W. G.

Soldier: Harris, W. G.
Allegiance: Confederate
Unit/Service Branch: 39th Infantry
Home State: Georgia
Date Written: Saturday, March 7th, 1863
Location: Vicksburg Miss
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Camp Life, Commanders, Comrades, Desertion, Suffering, Western Theater, Wife/Girlfriend
Camp near Vicksburg Miss.

Dear Jennie

It is with great pleasure that I attempt to communicate with you, through the medium of this sheet, if I am not permitted to go to see you under the Tyrannical Military law I can write and let you know how I am getting on, we are under hard task masking. Tyrants in every respect they wonít allow anyone to go home on furlough sick or well with but few exceptions some few are getting off, who can get a surgeonís certificate that they wonít be able for duty I over 30 days. My health is tolerably good now not so good as it was in Tenn. before I left. The water donít agree wit me here my diet has been so irregular is another thing. Sometimes I get one meal a day and sometimes none.

I have been eating one meal everyday this week at two dollars per meal. The provisions is not here to buy or steal nothing in the market house. My Ö.has not had any ounce of meat in several days nothing but bread and beer. I bought one pound of coffee for 4 dollars the Co. has not had any meat worth naming in two weeks, they dressed their meat and buried it and the commissary says the Ö.are all out we havenít drawn any of that in three days. Our Regt. Started out on Ö.this morning with nothing but bread to be gone three days, it is a very bad state of affairs. But I donít think we will starve. There are a great many men deserting. Some refusing to do duty. Some of the Ö.Tenn. Regt. have been under arrest for over two weeks for refusing to do duty they say they wonít do duty on bread alone the 39th GA Regt McConnellís have part of them been under arrest for killing hogs and chasing them in the daylight they killed one morning.

I sent one in the country 6 days ago to buy meat and potatoes and the wagon has not got back yet I heard this morning it was water bound 20 or 30 miles above here. Times have been quiet here for several days, there was some heavy cannonading up the river today for about an hour but all has ceased. The reason I did not go out on Ö.is I was on lst night between this and town watching the signal some one of the Ö.of every Regt. In our brigade have to watch every night for sky rockets which is a signal of an attack that excused me from picket duty today. I went out yesterday evening, our Regt. and brigade with three others to witness the execution of a soldier by shooting for desertion. It was one of the most horrible scenes I ever witnessed, they brought him out shrouded sitting on his coffin. The brigades were formed on three sides leaving a square in the center of about 100 yards. The prisoner was drove up in the center taken out of the wagon and tied to a post blindfolded with his back to the post and 12 soldiers with guns marched reprise 10 paces and commanded to fire 5 bullets struck him in the breast. There were two others, shot at other places in the divisions yesterday evening. They all belonged to the 1st Lee Regt. of Artillery. The charge was for deserting and Spiking the cannons last Apr. and going to the enemy and afterwards were taken prisoners and recognized by their own Regt. They had joined a Minnesota Regt. If we stay here I think it will be uncertain when I can go home. I should love very much to see you and Lucy. And would invite you to Ö.me, but it is such along road and bad road to travel. I donít think you could get a long, besides that there is no accommodation in this county, you would have to stay in camp. Mrs. McConnell has been here ever since his Regt. came from Tenn. Staying I a tent. Col . Glenn has sent for his wife and says he is going to fix up a tent to stay in. There is some little hope of one going back to Atlanta , GA if we go there I can go to see you, I must close.

Your affectionate husband, W,G Harris